Mathematical Musings on Form and
By Fiji Konstanzer
In Buddhism, cause and effect
are symmetrical. It's like: 3 + 5 = 5 + 3. If 3 and 5 switch places, it does not
matter. The outcome is not changed. Either way, you get 8.
Say you chant for someone else's happiness -- that's your "cause." Because
the formula of cause and effect is symmetrical, the effect of your cause rebounds
In life, this translates to kindness plus consideration equals consideration
plus kindness. Also, I suppose, idiocy plus bullshit equals bullshit plus idiocy.
You reap what you sow. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It all
comes back to you. This is the algebraic symmetry of the Universe.
symmetry is described in the Heart Sutra:
"Here, O Shariputra, form is
emptiness, and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form,
form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever
is emptiness, that is form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses,
If you look deep enough at a two disparate things, you
can see the sameness, the connection. You can be at a cocktail party talking to
a total stranger with nothing in common, then realize: "You're a carbon-based
life form? Oh my god! Me too!" It is the beginning of something beautiful.
Or look at Einstein. He said that energy and matter are basically the same
and can be transformed into each other at will. The energy of sunlight is transformed
into matter each day as my orange tree grows in the sun. Then I eat the oranges
and they become part of me. In other words, energy becomes matter.
Daishonin said a similar thing in The Gift of Rice: "[The Lotus Sutra] teaches
that the mind itself is the great earth, and that the great earth itself is the
grasses and trees...the moon itself is mind, and the flower itself is mind. You
should realize from this that polished rice is not polished rice; it is life itself."
So what happens when I die and the matter of my body disintegrates? Do you
suppose that's the end of the story? The mass of me is transformed into energy.
(I want to drop a few pounds, but this is extreme.) To paraphrase Walt Whitman,
look for me in a grain of rice. I will be smiling at you from a spicy tuna roll.
Maybe then I will nourish you more than this article.
Here, O Reader, matter
is energy, and this very energy is matter; energy does not differ from matter,
matter does not differ from energy; whatever is matter, that is energy, whatever
is energy, that is matter. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses,
Energy is conserved. You can slice it and dice it, turn it
into a piece of fudge, move it here and there. But the total amount never changes.
more, for every positively charged electrical particle, there exists its negatively
charged counterpart. For every Buddha, there is a Devadatta. For every Abba, there
is an Eminem. See the symmetry?
Just remember that 3 + 5 = 5 + 3. Do the math.
We'll all be fine.